SF Gay Man Found Dead, Boyfriend Arrested

  • by Seth Hemmelgarn
  • Sunday November 12, 2017
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The boyfriend of a man who was found dead in his Hayes Valley apartment last week has been booked on a murder charge and is in Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, according to the sheriff's department.

Alkoraishie Ali, 26, who's listed under the name Othman Al-Muttalaby, was booked at 8 p.m. Tuesday, November 7, according to the agency. Deputies made the arrest Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.

Ali, who's in the hospital's jail ward, has been treated for an injury, but police haven't said what type of injury it is or whether it was self-inflicted. It's not clear how long Ali has been in the hospital.

Keith Harris, 48, was found Thursday, November 2, in his unit at the Estrella Apartments at 340 Hayes Street.

Paul Novales, the building manager, who described Harris as "absolutely nice" and "the kind of tenant that everyone wishes they had," said that he got a call at about 2 p.m. Thursday because Harris hadn't been seen in a couple of days.

Novales said that he knocked on Harris' door, but there was no response, so he unlocked it.

When he opened the door, there were "big drops" of blood "on the floor and smears of blood on the wall and the door going into the bathroom," he said. He immediately walked away from the door to the apartment and called 911.

Novales said that there was an open door inside the one-room apartment that blocked the view of the rest of the unit, and he didn't see Harris' body.

He said that a woman who lives next to Harris' apartment heard "loud voices" coming from there at about 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, November 1, but she couldn't tell what was being said.

Police, who have called Harris' death a homicide, said that he'd suffered "stab wounds" and that a knife was used as the weapon. (The medical examiner's office confirmed Harris' identity, but the agency hasn't released the cause or manner of Harris' death.)

Ali, who's in the hospital's jail ward, had been "treated for an injury," but Andraychak, the police spokesman, didn't know what type of injury it was or whether it was self-inflicted. He also didn't know how long Ali has been in the hospital.

Novales said that he didn't know Ali very well. He is also known as Ali Liam and Othman Al Muttalaby. He hasn't responded to Facebook, email, phone, or text messages from the Bay Area Reporter.

However, Vivien Habeeb, a friend of Ali's, told the Bay Area Reporter in a Facebook exchange that she heard from Ali Tuesday, November 7.

"He called me from a hospital, and I was told by his social worker that police were questioning him right after he was out of some surgery," said Habeeb, who lives in Davis, California. She declined to share more information, indicating that she was waiting for permission from police.

Police spokespeople didn't immediately confirm Habeeb's statement.

Last Seen

Holly Richards worked with Harris at Automotive Mastermind, where Harris was an engineering manager.

Harris was "probably the best person you've ever met," said Richards, who called him "very caring" and "very supportive."

Richards said that when she last saw Harris on Tuesday, October 31, "he was in good spirits."

When Harris didn't show up for work after that, "We just thought it was really unlike him," she said. Automotive Mastermind staff got in touch with Novales, the apartment manager.

Richards said she never met Ali. Harris talked about him "from time to time," and "I know they were causal partners," she said. "They weren't serious."

She didn't know if the two had had any trouble with each other, and she didn't know if she should discuss any details.

"I think they just had normal relationship quarrels here and there, but I don't think Keith was ever abused," she said.

Ali "was troubled in his own life, but it didn't have to do with Keith," said Richards, adding that she didn't know details of Ali's troubles.

Isaiah Carter, the manager at Body, said Ali worked at the Castro district clothing shop for "almost a month." The last time he'd worked was Tuesday night, Halloween. He said that he'd only had "superficial conversations" with Ali, but his impressions were good.

"He was a great guy," said Carter, and "customers loved him, employers liked him. He was very business-orientated."

Ali, who has also worked as a go-go dancer and other jobs, left the shop just after it closed at about 8 p.m. He'd said that he was going to see a movie with Harris at the AMC Dine-In Kabuki 8 Theater, said Carter, who'd only met Harris briefly. Ali had "always talked very highly" of Harris, said Carter.

The next day, November 1, Ali didn't show up to work, said Carter. Since then, calls to Ali's phone have gone straight to voicemail, and he hasn't responded to text messages, said Carter.

Police have been at the shop to ask about Ali, Carter said, but they haven't shared any information with him.

Ammar Aliraqi, Ali's brother, who lives in Baghdad, said in an exchange of Facebook messages with the B.A.R. on Tuesday, November 7, that he didn't know where Ali was, and the family hadn't been in contact with him since three weeks ago, when Ali said that he wanted to kill himself because he missed his mother.

"We're worried about him," said Aliraqi, who also lists his name on Facebook as Al-muttalabi.

Ali had performed as a go-go dancer the last weekend in October at the gay Radium club in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

The club's entertainment director, who goes by the name Jennifer St. James, said that Ali had seemed "if not depressed, a little out of sorts."

St. James said he thought Ali might have been tired from his flight from San Francisco, but he added that over the weekend, Ali had been talking to his sister in Arabic.

"He kept talking about wanting to go home, but he couldn't go home. ... He wanted to see his mom," said St. James.

Ali told St. James that "he was not feeling well" and "that when he got back home he was going to go to the doctor. ... He said something about medication," but he didn't say what kind. St. James didn't press Ali for details.

In a phone interview last week, Harris' brother Steven Harris, 41, of Vicksburg, Mississippi, said Keith Harris "was a very loving person" whose "smile could light up a room."

"I'm glad he was my brother," said Harris.

Asked about Ali, Harris said, "I don't give a shit about that guy you're talking about," and he said that he'd never met him.

"He better hope I never do," said Harris.

Harris said that he wasn't aware that his brother had had any problems, and he was "not speculating on anything," but asked why talking about Ali made him angry, Harris was incredulous.

"Why do I feel angry about someone killing my brother? ... I'm angry at whoever did it," he said.

Longtime San Francisco party promoter Gus Bean, who was friends with Ali and Keith Harris, said that Ali, who's in his early 20s, has frequently worked for him as a go-go dancer.

"They seemed like a perfectly happy couple. ... Keith's an absolute sweetheart, the sweetest guy ever," and "Ali seemed like a really sweet guy," said Bean.

He said that he didn't know of Ali having any trouble involving drugs or crime.

"When he came to work at the parties, he seemed completely sober and always did a really great job and was definitely professional," he said.

Ali, who's acted in at least one porn movie under the name Ali Liam, has a profile on the escort site Rent.Men on which he says that he'd "just moved" to the United States after leaving "his whole family to have his freedom."

"[I'm] here to make you feel better than ever," said Ali to potential clients, referring to himself as a model, dancer, and trainer.

There didn't appear to be any signs of forced entry on Harris' apartment door, which was sealed with a sticker from the medical examiner's office when a reporter stopped by Friday afternoon, November 3.

A man who lives down the hall from Harris' apartment said he'd never heard trouble coming from Harris' unit and his death was "a complete surprise to all of us."

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